Former Pitt fullback Henry Hynoski is entering his second season as a fullback for the Super Bowl champion New York Giants. Henry took some time during training camp to speak with "Pitt Live Wire" about his whirlwind rookie year, the excitement of winning a Super Bowl and his life off the field.
It's going really well. I feel a lot more confident as compared to last year's camp because I have a full year under my belt. Because of the NFL lockout last year, I didn't know a thing a thing heading into camp so I felt like I was always catching up.
How did you spend your summer?
I spent it back home in Pennsylvania (Elysburg), working out with two different trainers. I've been working with them my whole life. I have one that is a weight lifting trainer and one that helps me with my agility, conditioning and those sorts of things two-to-three times a week. I worked on my balance and foot speed five days a week. I was also able to spend time with family and friends who I never get to see. It was a great summer working and getting to hang out with people I love.
You were able to be in former teammate Pat Bostick's wedding this summer along with former Pitt players Dan Cafaro, Myles Caragein and Andrew Janocko. What was it like to have that group back together again?
It was amazing. We figured out it was a full year since we had our whole crew together. It was a great time. I would see some guys here and there, but not all of us together. It was great to have them all back together like the old days.
What has the adjustment been from life and football at Pitt, to New York and the NFL?
Speed - in every area it increases. Everyone in the NFL is a professional and they all do things the right way. Everyone's in prime condition. Everyone at camp is already in gameday shape. Last year, especially, it took me a few weeks to adjust to the change. New York is the biggest media market in the world which makes that part more hectic, but there are a lot of similarities to Pittsburgh. New York loves smash mouth football too. There is a mixture of blue collar people with a little glamour too. It's a great mixture of both.
You had quite a roller coaster of a year, last year. What have you learned about football and about life through that experience?
Never quit and always have determination in everything you do. Never let anything come between you and your goals. You just always have to keep working hard and stay focused on what you want.
What's your favorite part of being in the NFL, and with the Giants?
I only have football to worry about. I don't have to focus on school work too. I wake up and it is all football. I'm either working out, or studying film. I'm doing what I love. It is such an honor and a privilege to be playing football. I know how lucky I am to be here. It is every football player's dream.
What do you remember most fondly of your time at Pitt?
The relationships that I established. I know I have friends forever. All of my friends from Pitt are friends until the day I die. That hard work and a foundation of discipline, I learned all of that early on at Pitt. I know that a lot of the successes I have today are because of Pitt and that I am a Pitt graduate.
Although you entered the NFL before your playing eligibility was exhausted, you still earned your degree in business-marketing from Pitt. What does that degree mean to you?
It is an amazing feeling. Some of my teammates still don't have that degree. It is a security to me. I know that nothing is safe and nothing is guaranteed. Everyone is just one play away from their career ending. I have it in my back pocket for the rest of my life and I take a lot of pride in that.
Your father briefly played in the NFL. What has your journey meant to your family and how have his experiences played into your success?
Growing up I always heard the stories about how great my dad was at football and how he was a legend. At an early age I always wanted to play, but they never pushed it on me. At the time it frustrated me because I wanted to play earlier but they wouldn't let me until I was in junior high. They finally let me start playing in the fifth grade. It was special, though, that they didn't care how good I was at football and they didn't push me. It is great that they have experienced my career with me from midgets through every step. I remember my mom driving me to training sessions before I could drive and they've been there to support me at every game in my career. The best gift I could give them was being on stage at the Super Bowl holding up the Lombardi Trophy with my parents at my side.
You've had many nicknames throughout your career, but what's your favorite?
I look at it this way - I'm lucky to have one at all! I must be doing something right on the field for people to give me those nicknames. The one that has a special place in my heart is the one that became popular at Pitt - "Hank the Tank." Now in New York, "The Hynoceros" has become big so they are both special to me.